The Brisbane Roar capped off a week marked by rising tension between the A-League champions and former coach Ange Postecoglou with a 5-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium last night.
In the football equivalent of the first meeting between a recently separated couple, it was the Roar who swaggered through the night looking like they were doing just fine post-separation under new coach Rado Vidosic.
With Brisbane and new Victory coach Postecoglou both wobbling in week one with their new significant others, last night’s game provided an opportunity for both sides to record their first wins of the young season.
It was the Roar, looking every bit the champions forged by Postecoglou, who wrested the game away from the visitors with quick-fire goals to Thomas Broich and Erik Paartalu in the first half.
A new-found embrace of the long ball led to a third goal to Besart Berisha in the second half, but the game was over by then and Mitch Nichols’ goal simply added insult to injury.
Berisha’s second of the night in stoppage time handed the Victory their first-ever 5-0 defeat.
Postecoglou, the target of jibes from his former charges during the week, says he is more interested in getting the Victory’s season on track than continuing a riff with the club he guided to two A-League titles.
“I’ve spoken about the Roar and I don’t want to talk about them anymore,” he said.
“They had their choice about how to approach the week. It’s a free world. They are a good side and congratulations to them.”
"I am coaching the Victory club. My responsibility lies solely with getting this club back to where it belongs and start performing like our supporters think they deserve - that's our focus.”
Vidosic was more forthcoming about the lead-up to Postecoglou’s first game back at Suncorp Stadium in enemy colours.
The former Roar assistant said he was disheartened by the animosity that had developed between the camps.
“I was disappointed as well, that’s not me, that’s not my style,” he said.
“I never said anything bad about Ange. He’s been a shining light at this club. The week was very difficult for everyone involved, so we are very pleased (with the win).
“(The Victory) missed several very important players and they will be better than they were today. For us it was nothing new we just continue to work on our improvements.”
Halfway through the first half, it was the Roar who turned an arm wrestle into a one-sided affair.
And despite the new dynamic at the club, it was familiar faces taking the initiative as midfielders Paartalu and Broich found the back of the net in the 22nd and 24th minutes – Broich from some quick passing in the left corner and Paartalu on a powerful head from a corner kick.
From then on it was familiar territory for the crowd of 17,364, who watched the home side dominate as the Victory chased the game. The contest was well in hand by the time Berisha scored on 64 minutes and Nichols netted a well-earned goal 18 minutes later.
The Brisbane crowd showed plenty of support for new mentor Vidosic, but were also respectful of Postecoglou, who took over a club in turmoil in 2009 and brought two A-League titles to Brisbane.
Some sections of the crowd were less well-behaved, with play stopped twice in the second half to clear a flare and then a pitch invader from the ground.